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More Claims From NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice 271

Posted by Soulskill
from the where-does-it-end dept.
eldavojohn writes "Russell Tice, former NSA employee & whistleblower, has revealed yet more details claiming that wiretapping was combined with credit card data to target civilians. He also suggests the CEOs of major companies hold the truth: 'To get at what's really going on here, the CEOs of these telecom companies, and also of the banking and credit card companies, and any other company where you have big databases, those are the people you have to haul in to Congress and tell them you better tell the truth.' Will Congress follow his suggestions?" This adds to information revealed by Tice last week that the wiretaps targeted journalists in particular.
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More Claims From NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice

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  • Hard evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @11:59AM (#26654109) Homepage Journal

    People are saying this guy was just a mid level analyst. Does he have any hard evidence or is he just drumming up publicity to sell a book?

    • Re:Hard evidence (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WindowlessView (703773) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:16PM (#26654381)

      Does he have any hard evidence

      What if he does? How long before "certain elements" of the media and body politic start accusing him of treason for how it was acquired or the fact that he released it?

    • This is just another rehash of the same Olbermann interview... and like the previous one, he still doesn't offer any specifics.

    • It really comes down to the following difficult decision: who do you trust more. The last administration or a mid level NSA worker with little to no proof?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, I don't believe he is in possession of stolen classified information. He probably doesn't want to spend tens of years in a federal prison and/or be fined up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      "Hard evidence" for this sort of wrong doing would fall under the above category, and comes in neat little binders warnings written in large very unfriendly letter. Whistleblower status would not protect him from prosecution from violating federal laws.

    • Re:Hard evidence (Score:5, Informative)

      by dwarg (1352059) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @02:25PM (#26656285)

      The CEO of Qwest Communications made the same claim and he ended up in jail [washingtonpost.com]. They were the only telco that refused to turn over caller records without a proper subpoena. He also claims that the wiretapping program began before 9-11. And he isn't the only one [wired.com].

    • Re:Hard evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moxley (895517) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @02:25PM (#26656295)

      He's credible and yes has plenty of proof.

      The guy is basically a hero - he stood up and respected his oath to the constitution as well as the NSA's own policies "Thou shalt not spy on Americans;" at great risk to himself - I know I would never want to be on the bad side of any of our Intelligence agencies.

      He is already having to put up with FBI intimidation.

      I know I don't want to live in a world where the sort of corruption and tyranny we've seen since 9/11 doesn't only increase in scope, but is unchecked and legitimized (attempts at legitimization with ex post facto immunity and other such things seem to be being considered).
        I will really be watching Obama on this to see if his actions live up to his rhetoric.

      People who value our heritage as Americans and our constitution who are in government service and who are willing to stick their necks out to do the right thing deserve massive respect. I hope that there are more people like Tice in these agencies, because our constitution and the laws surrounding intelligence gathering are extremely important to ensure that these powers aren't abused. We need intelligence agencies, as much now as ever - and I am sure that most of the people who work for these agencies are good, upstanding people - but with the way compartmentalization works it is very easy for some extremely shady stuff to go on (EG international drug trafficking, etc) - this is how it has been for a long time, and that's not going to change - but as far as spying on Americans and wholesale data collection without warrants - there are reasons why this isn't and shouldn't be allowed - when you add in the fact that journalists now know that they especially are targets for government surveillance it doesn't bode well for any sort of "democracy."

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:03PM (#26654161)

    Russell Tice found dead by apparent "suicide" in his residence.

    • "Russell Tice found dead by apparent "suicide" in his residence"

      Yea, would that be two gun shots to the head, as the first one didn't finish him off .. :)
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      "Suicide by gunshot from outside his car with the windows closed. "

      "Suicide by shotgun in the middle of the back."

      Both real cases if I could bother to find them. As I won't, only the conspiracy theorists will believe me.

  • No (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Bovius (1243040)

    Congress will not follow his suggestions. That would be the shocking news story.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:05PM (#26654203)

    If we assume, for the sake of argument, that Obama hasn't been flat-out lying about his desire for a government that obeys the law, then does anyone know why he supports this kind of BS?

    So far, I haven't seen any change I can believe in. And I voted for him.

    • by Spazztastic (814296) <(spazztastic) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:08PM (#26654249)

      p>So far, I haven't seen any change I can believe in. And I voted for him.

      It's been only a week. Don't you know how slow things move with the government?

      • by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:22PM (#26654467) Journal

        Don't you know how slow things move with the government?

        Ding, ding, ding, mod parent up. Whether or love Obama or hate him expecting real change on a ship the size of the Federal Government in ten days is pretty unrealistic.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Spazztastic (814296)

          Don't you know how slow things move with the government?

          Ding, ding, ding, mod parent up. Whether or love Obama or hate him expecting real change on a ship the size of the Federal Government in ten days is pretty unrealistic.

          This is going pretty OT, but it's going to bite him in the ass when he's running for a second term and people are asking why he didn't change everything he promised.

          • by Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:37PM (#26654637)

            It'll only bite him in the ass if the only thing his administration is known for by then is his campaign promises.

            People forgive not being perfect if they perceive you are not just doing 'the best you can' but actually having an effect.

            The folk who won't forgive him regardless, frankly are the same folk who will be gunning for him no matter what.

          • by shentino (1139071)

            Congress has the power to obstruct everything obama tries to do. Just like Gowron trying to force Martok into no-win battles, Congress can make obama look bad pretty easily.

            If he's smart, he'll call for america's support and ask them to pressure their reps in congress not to stonewall him. Then, if his programs don't go through, he can blame congress for sticking a big fat foot in the way and tripping him up.

            • by fotbr (855184)

              In other words, we (the people) should (according to Obama) want Congress to be his rubber stamp, instead of the previous administration being Congress's rubber stamp.

              Honestly, I'd prefer them to argue and compromise, instead of either branch running roughshod over the other. That whole checks and balances bit, if it hasn't been completely thrown out with the rest of the constitution.

          • by geeknado (1117395)
            Not if he delivers on his promises within a reasonable window of time or can defer blame for his lack of delivery to a reticent congress. The very fact that we're talking about his prospects for re-election _10 days_ after he assumed office illustrates why it's so difficult for politicians to do anything meaningful. Yes, no one's life is magically better because Obama is now in power. This is in no way a surprise.
          • by lawpoop (604919)
            Is he running for a second term next week!?
        • by Eil (82413) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @01:31PM (#26655471) Homepage Journal

          I think it's time we contain the optimism and start looking a little more critically at our new president. I voted for him and I believe he's the most intelligent and charismatic leader we've had since I've been alive, but thus far his pattern of leadership has been (perhaps with the exception of Gitmo) to simply give everyone whatever they're asking for. Two private corporate bailouts, one FISA bill, and almost a trillion in new spending. This cannot be sustainable in the long term.

          And let's not forget that Obama was the one who supported the FISA amendment which, in addition to granting the telecom industry immunity from lawsuits for breaking privacy laws, also allows the government to wiretap without a warrant or court approval for up to a full week. Of course, it's hard to say where he'll stand on it now that he's president, because he was against the bill when running against Clinton, yet supported it when running against McCain and I can't tell that the bill changed during that time.

          • by Abcd1234 (188840)

            Two private corporate bailouts, one FISA bill, and almost a trillion in new spending. This cannot be sustainable in the long term.

            And the shutting down of Guantanamo, and the outlawing of torture in the military.

            It's been a mixed bag, certainly, but it hasn't been all bad.

            And for the record, no one believes this kind of deficit spending is sustainable in the long-term. But the point is to not have to do it for the long term...

            • Well if this second bailout gets passed we the people have a $1.6 trillion bill to pay on top of all the other debts.

              I would have rather seen a better use of the remaining part of the first bailout package and repayment by the companies which got funds then a second package.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by SnarfQuest (469614)

          expecting real change on a ship the size of the Federal Government in ten days is pretty unrealistic.

          Have you seen the number of "executive orders" he's written already? The cost of these orders will soon exceed the entire budget of Bush's entire presidency, including the cost of the Iraq and Afgan wars. He's already allocated billions each for free abortions and voter fraud groups.

          • Do you have a citation or link for these claims, or are you just making it up as you go along?

            Yes, there are a number of executive orders that modern presidents sign on Day 1. It's both symbolic of the direction they want to go, and to get things moving in their direction.

            "billions each for free abortions and voter fraud groups."

            Executive orders are official documents of the United States, and are recorded. I realize that it's almost certainly out of date, but something similar to what is at: http://www.a [archives.gov]

        • expecting real change on a ship the size of the Federal Government in ten days is pretty unrealistic

          I think I saw that movie, with an iceberg, violins and Leonardo DiCaprio not dying nearly soon enough (like 5 minutes into the film) - or something like that.

          Except in this version, I think the Captain responsible has just managed to escape on his own life raft... The next reel should either be very exciting or very, very sad. I expect popcorn sales to sky-rocket.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Things move pretty quick most of the time in the government.
        Yeah, a week isn't really a rational amount of time.

        I doubt he voted for him, or anybody, becasue he's so quick to complain...but has no specific complaints.

        finally, the tilde repleces other punctuation. for example:
        You don't type "Watch out.!"
        You can type "Watch out." he yelled or just "Watch out!"

        So for the tilde you could do "Watch out!" he said sarcastically, or just "Watch out~"

        Of course I don't know why your yelling your sig in the first plac

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:22PM (#26654457) Homepage Journal

      What makes you think he does?

      We've had one Slashdot story claiming that he does that turned out to be complete bullshit, the words of a Bush-appointee who hasn't left yet being put in President Obama's mouth that themselves didn't say what the story said it did, and that certainly wasn't about bugging the phones of journalists.

      I'm not optimistic that Obama is going to haul those who made a mockery of the rule of law and the constitution over the coals, but it's a little too early to be sure he isn't going to, and it's highly improbable he'll follow in Bush's footsteps.

      Wait and see.

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @01:10PM (#26655135) Homepage Journal

        Not entirely sure why the above was moderated "Troll", but given the AC's response, if the issue is the second paragraph, then the false Slashdot story is here [slashdot.org], and the debunking is here [slashdot.org] and here [firedoglake.com].

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What makes you think he does?

        Because he voted for a bill which: [wikipedia.org]

        • Prohibits the individual states from investigating, sanctioning of, or requiring disclosure by complicit telecoms or other persons.
        • Permits the government not to keep records of searches, and destroy existing records.
        • Protects telecommunications companies from lawsuits for "'past or future cooperation' with federal law enforcement authorities and will assist the intelligence community in determining the plans of terrorists."
        • Removes requirements for detailed descriptions of
    • by Zordak (123132) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:58PM (#26654969) Homepage Journal

      If we assume, for the sake of argument, that Obama hasn't been flat-out lying about his desire for a government that obeys the law

      Why would we assume that? This is the guy who just nominated two lobbyists for cabinet positions immediately after announcing that there would be no lobbyists in the Obama government.

      For all you dupes who thought Obama was the Messiah who was going to sweep in and heal the federal government with one touch of his blessed hand, get over it. He's a politican. Politicians lie. They are, in large part, corrupt, morally bankrupt, bought and paid for, and self-serving. And the higher up the ranks you go, the more likely that is the case. In fact, that may be the only way to get to the top spot anymore. I would love to live in a world where that's not the case, but I don't, and neither do you.

      • ...the guy who just nominated two lobbyists for cabinet positions immediately after announcing that there would be no lobbyists in the Obama government....

        William Lynn, while working as a lobbyist recently, ALSO was the most recent Undersecretary of Defense under a democratic president (Clintonâ(TM)s second term). He was nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense.

        Hmmm, he was an undersecretary of defense under Clinton, now is a deputy secretary of defense. I wonder how he got the job- could it be that he was qualified?!

        I don't know much about the other, I'll have to check it out later today.

        • by Zordak (123132)

          Hmmm, he was an undersecretary of defense under Clinton, now is a deputy secretary of defense. I wonder how he got the job- could it be that he was qualified?!

          He may well be, and that's entirely irrelevant. If Obama wants to just hire the most qualified person for the job, regardless of industry ties, then do it. But don't first go on this grandstanding routine about "This is a new era of ethics. We're not going to do all that shady stuff other administrations do like hire lobbyists." If being a lobbyi

      • by ultranova (717540)

        This is the guy who just nominated two lobbyists for cabinet positions immediately after announcing that there would be no lobbyists in the Obama government.

        Change of opinion is change, right ?-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by philspear (1142299)

      So far, I haven't seen any change I can believe in.

      Not to make excuses for politicians, but it's not as if the entire intelligence community gets changed with each changing administration, especially not within the first few months.

      Obama does still have to work with these people to keep the nation safe. Most of the people working in the CIA, NSA and whatnot did not start when he did. Making dramatic changes immediately and offending them from day one would be a pretty stupid move.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Agilus (471376)

      What about the order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility over the next year?

      What about his executive order disallowing any interrogation techniques not defined in the Army Field Manual (i.e. no waterboarding, no torture)?

      What about telling the EPA to look into letting California define their own, stricter auto emissions standards [reuters.com] (instead of locking them to the federal standards like Bush did)?

      What about signing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act just yesterday?

      What about striking down Bush's ban on [huffingtonpost.com]

      • He's done more good in one week than GWB did in 8 long years.
        Depends on how you define good. Allowing a bunch of unelected bureaucrats determine how cars should be made, and possibly funding thousands of abortions against the vehement objections of those who pay taxes might not be considered good. But we shall see how it all turns out.

  • Corrupt CEOs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:06PM (#26654217) Homepage

    Is there any doubt left that the corporate aristocracy in this country is rotten to its core?

  • by ISurfTooMuch (1010305) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:19PM (#26654411)

    It's interesting that most media outlets are ignoring this. Of course, it took them a little time to get onto the original NSA/AT&T story, which broke online (at Wired, I think) before it went mainstream. When I read it online, I made sure to send messages to several media outlets, including CNN, about this. I never got any replies, but it was nice to see them pick up on the story, and I like to think that maybe I helped the process along.

    What I'm trying to say is that it wouldn't hurt for some folks here to take a few minutes to contact one or more news outlets and send them links to the video interviews on MSNBC, Wired articles, etc. Whether this story is real or fabricated is unknown at this point, but it's potentially big enough that it needs wide coverage.

    So let's all send this in to CNN, the New York Times, Washington Post, etc. and see if they haven't covered it because they aren't aware of it or because they're deliberately ignoring it.

    • by Bob-taro (996889)

      It's interesting that most media outlets are ignoring this.

      Yeah, you'd think the "specifically targeting journalists" part would garner some media attention.

    • by lawpoop (604919)
      I don't know why more people are shocked about this, but this goes back to Jan 2002, when Admiral Poindexter was putting together the Information Awareness Office [wikipedia.org], which ran the Total Information Awareness program. It was going to be a big aggregate database of all electronic data about everyone. Think of it as a big social network with all of your communications, financial records, legal records -- every digital record. The program was supposedly canceled after public outcry. It looks like, in light of rec
  • by mpapet (761907)

    This has been a likely scenario for quite a long time. The transactional data cooperation most likely predates Bush #43. It is the simplest reason for the decades of wanton privatization of transaction processing and personal data warehousing.

    The collective shrug of the shoulders in Congress should surprise no one. Most of all, it should come as no surprise to anyone hanging around slashdot.

    The notion that your daily life is somehow private should have died about 15 years ago.

    • I suppose it all depends on how motivated one is Michael.

      And whether those new webcams in your office are working...

      The notion that your daily life is somehow private should have died about 15 years ago.

    • by mangu (126918)

      It is the simplest reason for the decades of wanton privatization of transaction processing and personal data warehousing.

      And what would be the alternative to privatization? Let some government agency do the transaction processing and personal data warehousing. Like, let's say, the NSA?

  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:31PM (#26654557)
    This is exactly what someone would say if he were a disgruntled ex-employee fired for insubordination.
    This is exactly what someone would say if he were flogging a book.
    This is exactly what someone would say if he were a partisan hack who did not like the previous administration.
    and
    This is exactly what someone would say if it were true and he were loyal to America rather than the party in power at the time.

    Either a lot of Bushies need to go to jail, or Tice does.
    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      This is exactly what someone would say if he were a disgruntled ex-employee fired for insubordination.
      This is exactly what someone would say if he were flogging a book.
      This is exactly what someone would say if he were a partisan hack who did not like the previous administration.
      and
      This is exactly what someone would say if it were true and he were loyal to America rather than the party in power at the time.

      Either a lot of Bushies need to go to jail, or Tice does.

      Not disagreeing with you. However.

      The problem

      • by MrNougat (927651) <ckratsch AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 29, 2009 @02:19PM (#26656207)

        The problem isn't this particular executive or that individual board member being corrupt. The problem is much, much larger than that. The larger any corporation is, the more wealth it controls, and the more power it has over its customers, the people it employs, and the government it lobbies, the more corruption there will be. Period. It's just human nature.

        You can pass all the laws against corruption you like, try to implement all the oversight you possibly could, but as long as the corporation keeps growing in size and scope, controlling ever more areas of people's lives and controlling ever more vast sums of wealth, the problems will persist and get worse.

        Every time another corporate venture is started, new department created, new tax shelter set forth, corporate corruption *will* grow along with it. It's as unavoidable as entropy.

        Every time the public demands that corporations assume a new responsibility or provide a new product or service it also increases the power and wealth it controls and along with it the opportunities and incentives for corruption. The founders of our country envisioned/intended a small, relatively weak federal government with barely enough revenue & powers to accomplish only the bare necessities of a central government. Unfortunately, this allows supercorporations to run amok.

        At this point in our history, corporate America has grown so large and corrupt that I believe that it is in a feedback-loop that will only be halted when the whole country collapses from the weight of the "executive class" and devolves into chaos. It won't be pleasant, likely very, very bloody with staggering numbers of deaths, and makes me glad I'm rather old as I'll hopefully be dead before the collapse happens. Although it may well be closer than I or anyone else suspects.

    • Initially I really didn't question his story, in part because I can really see this kind of thing out of the previous administration, in part because there's been real evidence of domestic wiretapping. However as he keeps "revealing" more and more, I'm wondering more and more if he isn't making it up. Not the whole thing, of course, but large parts of it. You know something like the NSA did domestic wiretaps, which it shouldn't, but they were in fact tightly constrained to only targeting terrorists and only

  • by aquatone282 (905179) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @12:37PM (#26654639)

    Oh, wait. . .

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838)

      Yeah, all we could do now is prosecute them and possibly throw them in federal PMITA prison.

  • This guy doesn't come off as credible at ALL. He reminds me a lot of those UFO nuts who can go on at length about secret cover ups and the like, but can't actually give any proof. Always some sort of excuse.
    • by wytcld (179112) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @01:10PM (#26655131) Homepage

      He's not saying, "Look in Area 51 and all will be revealed." He's saying, "Haul these CEO's in to testify." Now, there are real questions of whether the technology is even plausible for interstellar travel - there's pretty good physics that says you can't get from one star to another in reasonable time with reasonable energy expenditure. But the technology for spying on us? Come on, there's enough technical expertise even within the community reading this thread to build, link, and mine the databases as it's suggested the NSA, phone and credit companies have done. And I'm sure some of us have pitched such designs to the government - direct knowledge, I know at least one guy who has, and got a contract from the pitch, pre-9/11. There had to have been hundreds, even thousands of pitches to and within the government to set up more of this stuff after 9/11. Now, on what reasonable basis do you believe the Bush administration wouldn't have bought some of these pitches? Our confidence that such programs are in place should approach unity. Talking to the CEOs whose cooperation would be required to pull this stuff off is a good place to start uncovering them.

      • That's a complete strawman argument. I wasn't arguing against the existence of the technology of spying on people I was saying this guy doesn't seem credible based on the lack of evidence. He makes a lot of vague statements that people, especially on the network he's being interviewed on are more than willing to believe. No different than a UFO proponant making their claims to a sympathetic audience. Doesn't mean either is telling the truth though.
  • NSA non-disclosure agreements don't expire for 99 years, so how does this guy get away running his mouth?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Zolodoco (1170019)
      Because he's not disclosing classified materials. If the NSA does something illegal, they have no protection against someone disclosing that activity beyond the usual intimidation and threats they'll make to shut people up. That's why we have whistle-blower laws.
      • Well until you've read, understood, and signed an NSA nondisclosure agreement, you really don't know what you are talking about.
  • Timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @02:01PM (#26655947)

    I've been holding my fire until Obama gets his AG pick confirmed, and the stimulus package passed. No one can expect anyone, even Obama, to change the course of justice overnight. And we do have many pressing issues that must be dealt with now.

    But the Senate committee just voted to confirm Holder, and the vote on the general floor is expected to confirm him as well. And the House just passed the stimulus package by a large margin; it looks like it's on the road to passage.

    So those two factors, plus the absence of a single Republican vote in support of a response to our national economic emergency, despite Obama's kowtowing to the "concerns" of Republicans, gives me hope that a proper, deep, wide, and comprehensive ass-kicking is coming from the boots of Lady Justice.

    If not, then we have definitive proof that some people ARE above the law, and that the law therefore applies to no one. And it becomes the right and duty of the American people to punish their representatives accordingly.

  • by HongPong (226840) <hongpong@@@hongpong...com> on Thursday January 29, 2009 @04:34PM (#26658015) Homepage

    Ok my question is can this /. community isolate or expose the methods of what the NSA has been doing, and has the NSA been feeding these data mining systems into other areas of the government or military?

    Specifically you guys should look at US NORTHCOM (northern command), Homeland Security dept, and the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency. I strongly suspect that these groups put together have fed illegally obtained data into the law enforcement apparatus (the NGA and NORTHCOM had a presence at the Republican National Convention here in Minnesota - these are military agencies!)

    NGA's website talks a lot about the data feeds they create for the NORTHCOM/DHS National Incident Management System (NIMS). We could easily find that various events like raids were generated via illegal data mining... Where is the manifestation of law enforcement ACTIVITY from data mining collection??

    How to approach this systematically, that is what I'm asking you folks about.

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